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Almost a quarter of Europeans can't be bothered with the net

It ain't just cost keeping them offline

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The European Commission is renewing its effort to get every European hooked up to the net - whether they want to or not.

The Commission's latest study into Europeans' digital world showed that 43 per cent of EU households "still do not have internet access". This, the Commission believes, is simply not good enough.

It notes that "almost one in five households surveyed mentioned the high costs associated with the internet being the reason for having no internet connection at home".

Thus, the Commission concludes, "Enhancing competition to get the prices down, an important objective of the Digital Agenda, would therefore be likely to encourage more people to get an internet connection."

Fair enough - most people are unlikely to argue with cheaper broadband access. Though it still seems the figures suggest that around 23 per cent of Europeans are simply not particularly interested in having internet access, whatever the price.

It might not help that many are not particularly happy with the service they're getting, with 30 per cent point to fluctuating speeds, 36 per cent experiencing breakdowns, and 24 per cent saying performance doesn't match what they signed up for. Just over a fifth reckoned their provider was blocking specific content or applications.

But politicians and bureaucrats just seem to love the idea of every home being hooked up to the grid, and seem unlikely to let people off just because they don't see the point of Twitter and are content to just have real world friends.

Still, perhaps Brussels expects the hold-outs to simply die off in the end, like their phone phobic predecessors. The survey showed that overall telephone access now stands at 98 per cent, up up 3 per cent on the previous survey in 2007. This includes mobile and telephone access. Breaking those figures down, 87 per cent of Europeans have mobile access, up 4 percentage points, while 73 per cent have fixed phone access, up 3 points.

A lucky 62 per cent have fixed and mobile access - up 5 points - while 25 per have mobile but no fixed access.

And 11 per cent only fixed telephone access, a decline of 3 percentage points since 2007.

TV access is almost as complete as phone access, at 98 per cent, up 2 percentage points. ®

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